Artist Spotlight: capsule, music

Artist Spotlight: Capsule (week three)

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Continuing with a look at one of Shibuya-kei’s most divisive figures – this blog earlier featured a post asking if his most famous group really counted as “Shibuya-kei” or not – Josh Anderson delves into Capsule’s commercial peak in the latter half of the ’00s in this installment of his guest series. Photo credit for this article, as with all of this series, goes to the “fuckyeahystk” tumblr – Anderson had included these credits for all earlier posts, but editorial decision had previously been to leave them out.

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music, The Canon

The Canon: Pizzicato Five – Bossa Nova 2001

bossa nova

Although the origins of the style we now know as Shibuya-kei can be traced back to the late 1980s (with acts like Original Love and the first incarnation of Pizzicato Five serving as the prototype), it is worth considering that the actual phrase itself wasn’t coined until the early ’90s – and that, despite Flipper’s Guitar being considered as the first Shibuya-kei group by many, the duo of Kenji Ozawa and Keigo Oyamada had already broken up before people were even calling their music “Shibuya-kei.” In this sense, Pizzicato Five’s Bossa Nova 2001, released in 1993, represents one of the earliest essential examples of Shibuya-kei as a musical movement with a name and defined ideology – and, as such, no attempt at forming a Shibuya-kei canon would be complete without it.

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music, news

Maybe we don’t live in the best of all possible universes

Idol Bakari Pizzicato, what happened? The initial announcement seemed so clear – Yasuharu Konishi was producing, as very well should have been the case. Yet things took a turn recently for the incredibly disappointing, as it has been revealed that the only involvement Konishi has with the compilation is that the songs were all originally written and produced by him. The actual music will be handled, for the most part, by the same people T-Palette Records trots out every time they have a new album to make and don’t particularly feel inclined to get any big names involved. The video above has a preview edit of a few of the album’s thus-far incredibly underwhelming songs, but hopefully the complete lack of anything interesting in these initial previews is somehow misleading.

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music, news

Yasuharu Konishi and T-Palette Records releasing compilation album, we are living in the best of all possible universes

Some branches of parallel universe theory posit that there are an infinite number of possible universes, in which any combination of factors can be true – and now, we at Memories of Shibuya present you with incontrovertible proof that the universe in which we live in is, in fact, the best of all these possible worlds: the T-Palette Records and Yasuharu Konishi tribute album “Idol Bakari Pizzicato.” Produced entirely by Konishi and featuring T-Palette groups Idol Renaissance, Vanilla Beans, lyrical school, One Little Kiss and, of course, Negicco, the album finds the girl groups paying tribute to the legendary producer through a variety of cover songs that will be coming out on April 22, a day that will presumably come to be observed as a holy day throughout Japan in commemoration of the event.

(By the way, we’ve been on the fence about Idol Renaissance, lyrical school and One Little Kiss: comment if you’d like any or all three of these groups covered here.)

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Artist Spotlight: Towa Tei, music

Artist Spotlight: Towa Tei (week two)

Every month, Memories of Shibuya will be taking a look at a different artist or group, with featured songs – one per week – highlighting the peaks (and, occasionally, troughs) of their musical career.

After leaving Deee-Lite and heading back to Japan, Towa Tei embarked upon a solo venture that found him taking his rightful place in the canon of Shibuya-kei artists. The Japanese scene welcomed him with open arms, bolstered both by his major-label connections from the Deee-Lite days and his own Shibuya-kei style, which could hardly have been more perfectly suited to the J-pop zeitgeist in 1994.

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music, news

New Nananon single, “Rock Nananon,” announced

Love “Nananananonnon” (Memories of Shibuya‘s #2 single of 2014) but wish Nananon had even one song other than the A and B-sides of that single? Well, your wish will soon come true – as “Rock Nananon,” the second self-referential single from Nananon, will be coming out on March 24, to the delight of Shibuya-kei idol aficionados everywhere. Details are scarce at the moment, but it’s probably a safe bet that the single called “Rock Nananon” won’t find the girls playing the marimba or delving into the art of Tuvan throat singing.

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music, news

Nananon’s debut single gets the 7″ treatment

Shout-out to Tokyo’s Coolest Sound for the scoop on this one – the first single from Yasuharu Konishi’s girl group Nananon just came out in the ultra-hip 7″ vinyl format, with title track “Nananananon” (video above) joined by a cover of Pizzicato Five staple “Baby Portable Rock” on the B-side, although lacking the CD version’s instrumentals (no great loss). I’m a musical blasphemer who doesn’t own a working record player (I do own one, but its needle is so blunted it gave up on being able to actually play records a while ago and I’ve yet to bother finding a replacement) so I won’t be grabbing this one, but interested parties can snag a copy of their own via Amazon.

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